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Earth Observatory Blogs

Tale of a Plankton Trip

Published 8/15/2018 in Notes from the Field
I am Dave Siegel, a professor of marine science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I have been working for many years to implement  the Export Processes in the Ocean from Remote Sensing (EXPORTS) oceanographic campaign: a coordinated field effort to understand the interactions between life in the sea and Earth’s carbon cycle. Last Thursday night, I watched “my baby” of a campaign sail away, as the Research Vessel Sally Ride left Pier 91 in Seattle for the northeastern Pacific Ocean. While I am the science lead for EXPORTS, it’s not just my baby—it is truly a group effort. Two teams of scientists created the EXPORTS science and implementation plans, with a lot of input from the greater oceanographic community. The result is a campaign comprising more than 50 funded NASA and NSF investigators from nearly 30 institutions and many graduate students, postdocs and technicians,... read more ❯

A Boatload of Scientists Head Out to Sea

Published 8/10/2018 in Earth Matters
A boatload of scientists headed out to sea this week. Actually, two boatloads. Both the R/V Salley Ride and the R/V Roger Revelle are taking part in a mission called Export Processes in the Ocean from Remote Sensing (EXPORTS). Their plan: track what happens to carbon as it sinks from the well-lit surface of the ocean down to the dimmer "twilight zone" (between 650 feet and 3300 feet below the surface) using floats, gliders, and other scientific equipment. Then they'll try to do the same thing using satellites. To help spread the word about the scientific work the team will be doing, oceanographer and blogger Kim Martini put together a fun set of #sciencetradingcards that people have been passing around on social media. Maybe she'll roll out phytoplankton and zooplankton trading cards next? Read more about the project from the mission website, a NASA Goddard press release, and the videos below. See a... read more ❯

MISR Where on Earth #30

Published 8/1/2018 in Earth Matters
The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) team at NASA has opened its 30th Where on Earth? quiz. Visit Here’s how it works: When you press “start,” you will be presented with nine multiple-choice questions (one question for each of MISR's nine cameras) about the area shown in the image below. You are encouraged to research the answers using any websites or reference materials you like. You cannot go back to previous questions, so make sure of your answer before proceeding to the next one. If you answer all of the questions correctly, you will have a chance to enter for a prize. The deadline for entries is 4:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on August 8, 2018. This natural color image was acquired by the vertical-viewing camera of the MISR instrument in July 2017 and represents an area of about 290 miles by 210 miles (470 kilometers by 340 kilometers). Note that north is... read more ❯

July Puzzler

Published 7/24/2018 in Earth Matters
Every month on Earth Matters, we offer a puzzling satellite or aerial image of Earth. The July 2018 puzzler is above. Your challenge is to use the comments section to tell us what we are looking at and why this place is interesting. How to answer. You can use a few words or several paragraphs. You might simply tell us the location. Or you can dig deeper and explain what mission produced the image, what instrument was used to create it, or what is compelling about some obscure feature in the image. If you think something is interesting or noteworthy, tell us about it. The prize. We can’t offer prize money or a trip to Mars, but we can promise you credit and glory. Well, maybe just credit. Roughly one week after a puzzler image appears on this blog, we will post an annotated and captioned version as our Image of the Day. After we post the answer, we will... read more ❯

Spruce Beetles and Shrubberies

Published 7/22/2018 in Notes from the Field
This week while the GLiHT crew continued collecting data over the Susitna and Tanana valleys, we focused on collecting on-the-ground data on spruce beetle infestation. Our first day out proved rainy and cold, but we pressed on, only sheltering in the car during a particularly hard spell. Aside from the occasionally torrential rain, we also dealt with clambering over downed logs nearly invisible under thick grasses and ferns, as well as waist-high patches of Devil’s club. This nasty understory shrub is covered in painful thorns tough enough to penetrate through clothing. We often found ourselves having to backtrack and find a different route to our desired tree after realizing we were wading into a sea of the spiky shrubs. As a testament to this somewhat failed effort, my legs were covered in scratches and bruises later that evening. Our task was... read more ❯
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